Nevada inmates aren’t usually released on parole at midnight on a weekend, but a corrections spokeswoman said that because of the high-profile defendant, “We had to make sure that we could do this safely and without incident.”
O. J. Simpson became a free man at 12:08 a.m. Sunday when he was released from Nevada’s Lovelock Correctional Center, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reports. Simpson is now on parole after serving nine years for armed robbery. Simpson was expected to be taken to a prison near Las Vegas for release, but corrections spokeswoman Brooke Keast said the high-profile nature of the case and public safety concerns prompted officials to release him directly from Lovelock. “We had to make sure that we could do this safely and without incident,” Keast said. “And we did.”
Keast said it was out of the ordinary for a prisoner to be released on a weekend, but officials worried a media presence could prove dangerous to Simpson, corrections staff and the surrounding communities. Simpson didn’t want to be photographed. “Just like he’s been through his entire stay, he avoided media,” Keast said. “He was true to form.” A prison official told Simpson, “Don’t come back.” He replied, “I don’t intend to.” The former football hero, TV and movie actor, advertising pitchman and celebrity criminal defendant, now 70, has been in prison for a 2007 armed robbery involving two sports memorabilia dealers in a Las Vegas hotel room.